INSPIRATION JOURNAL

You Don’t Know What Will Stick

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I have never really known exactly what I wanted. It has always been a combination of best guesses, trial and error, and face-down-in-the-mud failure followed by a shower beer and picking myself up off the metaphorical floor.

As you may know,* a little over a year ago I got fired, went on a big solo road trip, came back to Colorado and figured my shit out. Not nearly all of it, just enough.

I’ve been riding that wave of having figured out just enough for a while now.

This past summer for me was an absolute whirlwind– one that didn’t stop or slow down. But when it did, it came to a screeching halt. My life asked me what I was going to do next, and I really didn’t know. I have been struggling to know what to write about, what new projects to initiate. There have been times that I felt like a fraud.

But I think that the worst thing you can do is nothing. So slowly, I started playing with my ideas. And I’m reminded, very clearly and loudly, that I am making all of this up as I go along. The projects I take on, this blog, the video channel, the stuff I write here or anywhere else.

NOW MORE THAN EVER, I FEEL LIKE I AM THROWING SPAGHETTI AT THE WALL AND SEEING WHAT STICKS.

I am throwing a fuck ton of spaghetti. Buckets of it. Some of it is honestly, way overcooked, and some of it isn’t even cooked at all, but even some of the uncooked stuff is sticking. Weird.

I’ve been throwing jello. Bread. Frying pans. Bouncy balls, just ‘cuz. Tennis shoes. Shampoo. Beer.

As it turns out, the ideas that you think are the best… won’t always be the ones that stick. Sometimes, the ideas that you think aren’t that great or innovative or special will be like superglue to someone else.

A lot of my ideas aren’t fully cooked. Some of them, I think, are straight-up bad. But I have made an agreement with my bad ideas, that if they stick, I will give them a chance. So that’s what I am doing.

Try everything, knowing that not everything you do will be the best thing you do. Not everything you write will be the best thing you write. Not everything you make will be the best thing you make. But you are doing and making, and that’s what matters.

Put pen to paper. Pick up the camera. Send the email. Write that thing that has been in your head, or that thing that hasn’t been in your head at all– just write something.

Engage with your own growth. You don’t know what will stick until you throw it.

Start throwing.

 


 

*and if you didn’t know, now you do. Did we just become best friends?

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35 Comments

  • Reply
    Alys
    October 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Really liked this post- just what I needed today, and I think your spaghetti analogy might become one of my new favourites-thank you!

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    October 11, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    I also really liked this post!! From someone else who never really knows what they’re doing, or meant to do, this advice resonates with me. I like the idea of just trying out all your ideas and even if the ones you think are best turn out not to be, go ahead with the ones that stick! Put your energy and focus into them! Thanks for this!

    Also…. shower beers…. yes, yes we did just become best friends!

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Caitlin! And yes to shower beers!

  • Reply
    Andrew Lasser
    October 11, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    E,

    If there was any advice I could give you based off this post… It would be to find what makes you happiest or what really drives you the most and give it all you’ve got. Give it 110%. What I’ve realized in my 32 years of life experience so far is that most of the best things in life take hard work. Lots of it. Seems as if all the hardest things are really the ones that are the most rewarding to me. For example… I went to U.S. Army boot camp back in 2002. I really thought this was a shit idea once i got there, but i knew it was the right decision right at the end. I saw my mom and dad right there at graduation. My mom was crying and they both looked so proud. It was then i knew it was the best decision I ever made because of how proud they were of me. To this day it was the hardest yet most rewarding thing I’ve ever accomplished.

    That’s just me trying to relate to what you have been going through and hopefully it helps a little. You seem to have quite the drive, but maybe not sure exactly what your niche is as of yet? Apologies if you were not looking for any advice. =]

    -Andrew

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Thanks for sharing your story, Andrew! I definitely have my niche and am excited to see how it shifts and changes as I learn more :)

  • Reply
    Alley
    October 11, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    You’re doing great things! Whatever they may be. Thanks for ignoring the mansplaining and being a girl boss by continuing to share your experiences, struggles, adventures, and especially your words!

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Thanks Alley 😉 Ahhh the mansplaining.

  • Reply
    Katie Drougas
    October 11, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Wow this blog just stuck! I just made a big move with really no plan of attack and have felt the mild freak out of what to do next. This was awesome timing – thanks for sharing!

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Oh the mild freakout! I know it well. Thanks Katie, all the best :)

  • Reply
    Celina
    October 11, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    You should know that you are a wonderful writer. So keep on doing this. ^^^ 😉

    Also there’s a 98% chance that I’m going to use a quote from this blog as a caption. You’re wonderful. (I’ll tag and credit you!)

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Thank you Celina! Please do!! Love it when folks share my work :)

  • Reply
    Mel
    October 12, 2016 at 12:31 am

    Hey Erin,

    This post screams ANTHEM! As in, I’m you. You’re me. And let’s throw a shit ton of spaghetti at walls. I just returned from a two month backpacking/road trip throughout Canada and all over the national parks of the US. It’s been surreal to experience nature on that level and come back with this amazing high only to be faced with the impending what next?? Well I found out that what’s next is being an Adventure Guide in Santa Barbara where I grew up for the time being. As a fellow traveler and backpacker I want to thank you for your amazing tips and life advice. Also I’m notorious for inviting people I meet on the trails to come visit. I just had friends from Chile come visit last week and I am always excited to meet other women passionate about the outdoors. If you’re in Cali soon please come to SB and I’ll show you the best places to hike along with a bomb ass taco lunch. All the love – Mel Xx

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Hey Mel! Love this! Thanks so much. Guiding is so fun, I hope you’re having a great season. You’ll figure out the rest as you go! Will definitely take you up on the hike and tacos if I make it out there :) xo

  • Reply
    Lynn
    October 12, 2016 at 6:18 am

    Ha! This exactly describes my side hustle as a freelancer. I send out tons and tons of random pitches and maybe one out of fifteen becomes something I get paid for. One month I published a genealogy project with a kid and an article on equine law. See? Random! Spaghetti is delicious.

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:32 am

      Haha this is awesome. Love it. Thanks Lynn!

  • Reply
    Valerie
    October 12, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Hi Erin! First of all: hallelujah I found your website! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and adventures. It has helped me quite a lot!
    Second: I’m 39, going on 40, and still figuring shit out, so don’t worry, it’s very normal 😉
    A couple of years ago I started a blog during my travels, so my family and friends could keep up with everything I was doing. Plus, during my solo trip to Canada, I didn’t feel lonely thanks to that. But after a while, I wanted to do more, not just a journal on these specific moments, but a complete travel-adventure-outdoor blog.
    So I started my blog, deleted it, restarted under a different name, deleted that too… and so on and so on… My biggest concern was to have great input and I feared that the market was already saturated.
    Thanks to this article you just posted, I realize I still want to write my damn blog! :-) So now I’m going to take a little time to figure out just enough to actually start it. And then I’ll post my first articles, and I’ll continue posting it until it’s shaping like a real blog and until I know what works. I just don’t think my English is good enough tough, so I think it will be better to write in my mother tongue, which is Dutch. Hello from Belgium 😉

    So you keep doing and keep enjoying what you do, because I enjoy reading your blog! :-*
    Valerie

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Hey Valerie! WRITE YOUR BLOG!!! I put this one off for so long because I thought the market was already oversaturated. I learned that there is room for you in whatever you decide to do! You will figure it out as you go – it won’t be perfect right away. Let me know when you start it back up (even if it’s translated from Dutch!). xo

      • Reply
        Valerie
        October 17, 2016 at 3:32 am

        Thanks Erin! You’re such an inspiration to me!
        I had a couple of days to think about it and suddenly I had an epiphany: there is no outdoor blog specifically for women in Belgium, at least I didn’t find any. So I’m going that direction. I hope it’ll be a source of inspiration for girls and women, such as you are to me ;-).
        My first goal is to write 10 articles, and then take the whole thing online. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, so I’ll take the time I need.

        • Erin Sullivan
          Reply
          Erin Sullivan
          October 19, 2016 at 2:09 pm

          Thank you Valerie! Totally agree about putting pressure on yourself. It doesn’t have to be perfect!! xo

  • Reply
    Kelly
    October 12, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Erin! Your words hit the mark with what so many of us are thinking, and in such a hilarious way. Right on point!

    I am heading home in a week after having travelled Central and South America for almost a year, after the s#!t hit the fan and I quit my job (rather than being fired, which was probably coming next). I was down, out for the count but had no idea what I wanted to do. Now, I’m invigorated, motivated, still have no idea what I am
    doing – but – I am energised and ready to try many different things to see what works. Amazing what a bit of perspextive can do.

    Better get back to throwing my spaghetti :)

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:53 am

      That’s so awesome, Kelly! Good for you and glad to hear you are feeling motivated in the face of the unknown. :)

  • Reply
    Coreen
    October 13, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Ciao Erin, SUPER needed to discover your blog and YouTube channel. It is all really resonating with me, especially this post about crazy summers coming to a screeching halt.. thanks for the motivation to get me moving again.

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Thanks Coreen! So happy to know you are following along.

  • Reply
    Karo
    October 13, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Thank you for another helpful post. it’s so good to know that you’re not the only one out there having really confusing time of your life. All the best!

  • Reply
    Juliana Jurenas
    October 14, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Yoooooo, we just became friends. I recently stumbled upon you and now I’m here, admiring and understanding your honesty with life’s everyday uncertainties. Cheers to growth and shower beers!

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 14, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Thanks for reading, Juliana!! Happy to know you are following along :) Cheers for sure. xo

  • Reply
    Claudia Proulx
    October 17, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Haaa!! Erin I am already your friend!! Again thank you for this wonderful post. You just described my whole feeling for the past year and I felt miserable, thinking I was the only one struggling with what to do with my life. I thought I was having a problem in fact. And yesterday, really, I was writing in my journal that I don’t know what to do but what I know is that I need to move and start. Anything!! And, now I am reading your post!!! (been following you for a while now eveywhere I could find you)!! You’re really an inspiration to me… and this is because I feel a lot of humanity in you. You are authentic and honest. Love you bella. Keep going you’re doing so well. Sorry if there’s any mistake, french is my first langage in fact. Oh, and also, you are always responding back to the comments we leave!! So great.

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      Thank you Claudia! So glad you can relate. Once you start something (anything), momentum will carry you to the next thing. Not everything you do will be the EXACT perfect thing, but it’s the doing that matters. xo

  • Reply
    Jessie @ Chasing Belle
    October 17, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Wonderfully inspiring Erin! With social media always displaying the best of people’s lives, it is easy to feel like what you are doing just doesn’t stack up to others. I agree that if one idea fails, try again, and don’t necessarily throw out that last idea, because like you said, it may get sticky later on! Great read and pictures :)

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 19, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks Jessie! Social media breeds comparison for sure. It can be hard to remember that social media is often a highlight reel and that it’s unfair to compare yourself to the best part of someone else’s life! xo

  • Reply
    Betsy Dionne
    November 3, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Thank you for this! Lately I have felt like I have no time to pursue my writing and photography. After reading your post I came to a realization that a big part of what is stopping me is being afraid that what I put out wont be good enough. I feel like if I don’t have time to make an idea perfect I should just throw in the towel and go back to my day job. Maybe I should start looking at it differently though, throw some under-cooked spaghetti around and just create because its fun not because I’m trying to be perfect.

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      November 10, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Hey Betsy! Oooof, that fear is real. SAME. I am such a perfectionist and it’s really hard for me to put something out there if I don’t feel 110% on it. Writing this blog and starting YouTube has changed that for me in a big way!

  • Reply
    Reelika
    November 29, 2016 at 12:35 am

    I spend a lot of time in social media and most of the time it makes me feel overwhelmed. Few days ago I stumbled upon your account and you made me feel so inspired. Thank you again. I feel like everything you write here who say on your YouTube channel is I can relate to 100% and it’s wonderful. I really feel like you came into my life just the moment I needed to hear all of this THE MOST. Your words are encouraging, down to earth, up lifting, genuine and most of all inspiring me to keep pursuing what I want (which is very similar to what you do as well ) I kind of feel I have found my lost twin sister

    Cannot say thank you enough! I am going to stalk your blog from now on and do a 30 day “Erin outdoors” challenge. Which is every morning I will definitely read one of your articles or look one of your videos and this will set the positive and thriving vibe to my whole day

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